[Reported filed at 6pm on Monday 25 October in Nagoya]
Tired faces sagged today in the room where ABS negotiators reported back after a long weekend, knowing that there’s still masses of work to do before the draft ABS Protocol can be finalised. So much is still undecided – such as the Protocol’s scope.
The Japanese senior vice-minister for the environment made a brief but important appearance (well-documented by TV cameras!) to urge the negotiators on. He promised a treat at the end if they succeed… But time’s running out, as ministers are starting to arrive for the high level segment, and the stakes for biodiversity conservation are high: major country blocs have said they won’t agree to the CBD’s Strategic Plan unless the ABS Protocol is adopted. There were flashes of hope and helpfulness – one of the ABS working group Co-Chairs asked ‘can we ride the wave?’ – but then talks stagnated and circled on seemingly simple points, and some sleepless nights clearly lie ahead.
Can the negotiators pull it off and actually find some compromises in time? Will they get their mystery treats? Will we get an ABS Protocol we can understand and work with, and a global conservation plan for the next 10 years?